In a bid to reduce the clutter of notifications that third party apps display to Facebook users and also to optimize the resource consumption, Facebook has developed a ‘user affinity score‘ that will tell the system how useful a particular notification from a third party app is.
In a patent application filed with the USPTO, the fifth ever filed by Facebook, the inventors describe a way to study the implicit and explicit feedback offered by users to app notifications. The patent application elaborates
“an application can provide a notification to the member on the member’s web page. If the member ignores the notification when viewing the web page, e.g., does not click on or otherwise interact with the application, this is an implicit feedback that can be interpreted to mean that the member is neutral towards the application. But, if the member clicks on a link in the notification that unsubscribes the member from further notifications from this application, the member has provided explicit negative feedback towards the application. On the other hand, if the member clicks on a link in the notification that provides the member with more information about the application, the member has provided an explicit positive feedback about the application.”
Based on these user interactions, Facebook assigns a user affinity score to each application which would tell the system whether or not to display a notification from a particular app to users. Users could thus expect a reduction in the overall number of notifications received.
This is not all. The patent application further uses the affinity score to determine new user invitations. As most Facebook users might have experienced, there are quite a few apps that would not let you proceed unless you invite a particular number of friends to the app. With this affinity score in place, Facebook would internally determine whether to send the invitation to all selected members or only to a predetermined number.
What do you think of this? Do you think this will help reduce clutter?